Deaf Man Says Officials Gave Him no Help
By CAMERON LANGFORD
July 24, 2012
HOUSTON (CN) – After a neighbor punched a deaf man in the face, Harris
County prosecutors and constables refused to provide an interpreter to
take his statement, but relied on his attacker’s story to decline to
press charges, the deaf man claims in Federal Court.
Andrew Scofield, who is “completely deaf” and uses sign language, sued
the Harris County District Attorney’s Office and Precinct 4 Constables
Office, alleging disability discrimination.
Scofield claims he was walking his dog on a leash with his children on
May 5 when an unleashed dog owned his neighbor “Mr. Provost” charged
and lunged at them.
“Mr. Scofield approached Mr. Provost and tried to use sign language to
communicate to Mr. Provost that his dog needed to be on a leash,” the
complaint states. “Instead of apologizing or even reasonably
responding, Mr. Provost responded violently by brutally attacking Mr.
Scofield, punching him in the face causing pain, injury, and profuse
“Plaintiff Scofield called 911 via videophone relay to report his
injuries and receive medical attention. EMT personnel arrived at the
scene and Mr. Scofield asked for an interpreter. He was not provided an
“When the police arrived on the scene, plaintiff once again asked for
an interpreter. He was not provided one, but instead plaintiff’s son
was taken away without plaintiff’s knowledge or consent.
“The son was a mere thirteen years old but was essentially asked to
provide his own deaf father’s position and explanation of the incident.
It is critical to note that the plaintiff’s son is also hard of
hearing, which compounded the problem.
“The police refused to take statements from plaintiff and seemingly
made a determination that the two men engaged in mutual combat, without
examining or investigating Scofield’s narrative.
“Upon information and belief, a statement was taken from Provost, and
because he was hearing, his statement was given full credibility and
reliability, without determining the veracity thereof. Plaintiff
Scofield’s victimization essentially went ignored.”
Scofield says a police photographer came to his house the next day, but
again, without an interpreter to take his statement.
“On or around May 7th, 2012 plaintiff and family contacted the Harris
District Attorney’s Office. The Scofields were merely circulated back
and again to an intake specialist,” the complaint states.
“Eventually the message was conveyed that if plaintiff Scofield wanted
to submit a report utilizing an interpreter, that it would need to be
paid by Mr. Scofield, the victim in this matter.
“Plaintiff Scofield, through his attorney, made several attempts to
work through law enforcement entities. Specifically, counsel wrote a
letter on June 4th to the Constable’s Office, Precinct Four, demanding
a statement be taken by Mr. Scofield, with an interpreter, and a
request to prosecute Mr. Provost, the attacker.
“These requests were rebuffed.”
Determined to get justice, Scofield, through his attorney, sent the
DA’s office a letter on June 8, again requesting an interpreter, an
investigation and prosecution, according to the complaint.
“In response, the District Attorney’s Office asserted that it would
take a statement, but only at plaintiff Scofield’s personal expense,”
the complaint states.
Scofield seeks damages for Americans with Disabilities Act violations
and “a full investigation and prosecution of the attacker.”
He is represented by Deborah Crain, of Stafford.